Week Five Notebook: Penn State Clamps Cornell, Rutgers & Hopkins Win Rivalry Battles

(Photo Courtesy of Penn State Athletics)

March madness is here and a weekend highlighted by multiple rivalry contest certainly presented that exact energy across this Saturday of college lacrosse.

Week five of the college lacrosse season saw Penn State continue to showcase its improvement, three closely contest rivalry contests, and much more.

Let’s get into the action!

Top Storylines

The Penn State Nittany Lions played a top-10 team from the Ivy League for a third week in a row. And once again it was Penn State to come out on top as they defeated the No. 3 Cornell Big Red 10-6 on Saturday afternoon.

Penn State beat Yale and Penn in the two weeks prior.

Once more it was the Penn State defense that proved to be the headlining piece in the Nittany Lions victory as they held Cornell to single digits in the game and allowed just two goals during the first half. Cornell was held off the scoreboard in the final 15 minutes of play.

With Jack Posey matched up on CJ Kirst (2G/1A) and Sam Sweeney on Billy Coyle (2G), the two Penn State poles helped hold Cornell’s top two point-getters to a combined five points, as well as five shots, on the day. Kirst was held off the board until the third quarter when he got switched on to short-stick Grant Haus and was able to put one home on a roll back. He later got space off a pick from X and turned the cage for a score.

Kirst’s two goals of the day were part of third quarter effort that saw Cornell outscore Penn State 4-3 to make it a 7-6 game heading into the final quarter. That after the Big Red trailed 4-1 at the half.

Penn State blanked Cornell in the fourth and final frame while putting home three of their own, including two straight from Jack Traynor, to pull away and secure the four-goal victory. Traynor’s two score helped him end the day with four points as he also dished out two assists in the contest. The younger Traynor, Matt, had a first-half hat trick to lead all goal-scorers in the game.

Anchoring that aforementioned Penn State defensive effort was sophomore Jack Fracyon, who had himself a day with 16 saves. 10 of those saves came during the first half as he faced 22 shots (12 on cage) from a Big Red offense that was desperate to break the lid. However, Fracyon would not let them.

The Penn State defense caused eight of Cornell’s 16 turnovers.

Chase Mullins went 10-for-20 (50%) at the faceoff dot against the Cornell tandem of Marc Psyllos (5-for-11) and Jack Cascadde (5-for-9).

The Nittany Lions and Big Red each went 22-for-24 in the clearing game. Cornell won the ground ball battle 34-26.

Chayse Ierlan made 21 saves to anchor the Cornell defense.

Penn State moves to face Marquette at a neutral site next week while Cornell moves to face Yale on the road to open Ivy League play.

Kulas’ Game-Winner Sends Rutgers Past Princeton in OT

Shane Knobloch dodged down the left side from up top and through the Princeton defense found Dante Kulas on the back pipe. Kulas would take a little step forward and put home the overtime game-winner for Rutgers to top in-state rival Princeton 14-13.

The win earned the Scarlet Knights’ their 32nd ever win over Princeton in what was the 100th meeting between the two programs. Princeton still leads the all-time series 65-32-3.

Kulas led the Scarlet Knights in the victory with five points off four goals and one assist. Knobloch (3G/2A) and Brian Cameron (2G/3A) each had four points apiece.

Princeton’s Sam English had the overtime-forcing goal with 4:32 remaining in regulation as he got open on the left side and put home his first and only score of the day.

In a game that saw plenty of offensive fireworks, it was defense that showed up big time late in the contest help ensure extra lacrosse was played. Both defenses allowed just one score in the fourth quarter and both came up with arguably their biggest stops of the day within the final minutes of regulation.

Following English’s game-tying score, Michael Gianforcaro stooped a Knobloch shot and Princeton cleared it upfield where the Rutgers’ defense would force a shot clock violation. On the other end, Princeton would force a Rutgers shot clock violation and the Tigers would get the ball back in their offensive zone with 42 ticks left before Matt Madalon called a timeout.

Rutgers’ Bobby Russo jumped a Alexander Vardaro pass but Jake Stevens would grab the loose ball, retaining possession for Princeton and allowing them one last effort in regulation. That last effort, coming out of a timeout, would fail Noah Daniels forced the turnover and the clock expired.

Princeton started the game hot, jumping out to a 5-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. However, Rutgers was able to answer with a 7-3 second quarter that helped them jump ahead 9-8 at the half. That second quarter saw the Scarlet Knights score each of the final four goals of the half, which included a Kulas score with 22 seconds left.

Alexander Vardaro tied things at 9-9 for Princeton early in the third before Alex Slusher an 11-11 game with 5:25 left in the third and then a 12-12 game heading into the fourth, converting off a wild shot while falling down. In total, this contest saw things tied six different times.

Coulter Mackesy (3G/3A) led Princeton with six points. Griffen Rakower made five saves in the first half and Michael Gianforcaro made 10 in the second half.

While the two sided went 50-50 overall at the faceoff dot, Rutgers’ Joe Neuman went 11-for-19 (57%) in the action he saw. That included winning the draw to open overtime.

Rutgers moves to face UMass next week while Princeton will face Penn in a nigh time contest to open Ivy League play.

Marcille’s Career Day Helps Hopkins Past Syracuse

Syracuse legend Mikey Powell had his number 22 lifted into the rafters at the Dome at halftime of one of the most historic rivalries in the college lacrosse on Saturday afternoon. However, at the end of the day, it was the visiting Johns Hopkins Blue Jays who came out on top with an 11-9 win.

The victory marks the second consecutive win over Syracuse for the Blue Jays. It is their first win on the road against the Orange since 2018. Hopkins holds a 31-28-1 lead in the all-time series between the two historic programs.

Syracuse outshot Johns Hopkins just 42-40 but put 30 of their shots on cage while the Blue Jays put 23 of their looks on cage. However, despite having a solid shooting day the Orange ran into one big program and that was Johns Hopkins goalie Tim Marcille, who had himself a career-day with 21 saves. 16 of those saves came in the first half along where he faced 29 shots (21 on cage) from the Orange.

An Owen Hiltz score with 46 seconds left in the first half was followed up by a Finn Thompson BTB off a Joey Spallina feed with 10 ticks on the clock to give the Orange the 6-5 lead at the break. Michael Leo scored his first of the day with 2:15 in the third and his second on a man-up situation at the 11:19 mark of the fourth. Both scores the Orange the lead. However, those were the only two advantages they would gain once the second half started and Leo’s final score was the Syracuse’s last.

Matt Collison used a hitch and go to get past the defender and make it a 9-9 game with six minutes remaining and Ryan Evans would follow up with a diving score two minutes later to give the Blue Jays he 10-9 lead. Patrick Deans finished things off with a pole goal with juts 20 ticks to seal the deal and ensure the Hopkins win.

That late, game-winning run was Hopkins’ best goal-scoring stretch of the contest and second run of the half. Russell Melendez had score the first two goals of the third quarter to give the Blue Jays a 7-6 lead. That was just the second lead Hopkins had up to that point in the game.

Syracuse came out strong with Cole Kirst scoring the first goal of the game before Hiltz followed up minutes later. The Orange came up with three early defensive stops, which included a pair of caused turnovers from Caden Kol and Max Rosa, before Hopkins was able to get on the board at the 7:56 mark of the first via Dylan Bauer. That helped them to take the 3-2 lead into the second quarter.

Melendez led Johns Hopkins with a hat trick on the day while Garrett Degnon had two goals. Logan Callahan went 5-for-11 at the dot while Matt Narewski went 5-for-7.

Owen Hiltz (3G/1A) and Joey Spallina (1G/3A) each had four points to lead the Orange. Will Mark made 12 saves in cage while Jack Fine  went 8-for-14 at the dot.

Syracuse moves to play Hofstra on Tuesday. Johns Hopkins will face Navy next Friday and Delaware on Sunday.

Fourth Quarter Comeback Pushes Villanova Past Penn

After earning an overtime with against Saint Joseph’s during the midweek slate, the Penn Quakers struggled out of the gate in what was a defensive battle against Villanova on Saturday. However, trailing 6-3 early in the third quarter, the Quakers would find their offensive groove.

Gabe Furey and Hugh Mullane put home consecutive scores to make it a one-goal, 6-5, game heading into the final frame. Early in the fourth, Sam Handley found himself open up top and decided to put home his first shot of the day for a score. A Ben Smith man-up goal and another one from Handley put Penn ahead 8-6 with 10:28 left.

However, just as it looked like Penn’s late-game offensive spurt might have saved them, Villanova fired back. Patrick Daly made it a one-goal game with 5:38 left and a man-up score from Matt Campbell in transition at the 1:46 mark make it an 8-8 game. After Campbell sent one wide, Matt Licata initiated from behind on the restart, turned the corner, and got the jump shot to go with just 28 ticks left for the win to take home the Farrell Cup.

Campbell had two goals and one assist to lead the Villanova offense. Reid Colwell collected four ground balls and caused three turnovers to lead the Wildcats’ defensive effort. Justin Coppola wen 12-for-20 at the dot and Will Vitton made 11 saves in cage.

Handley (2G/2A) led the Penn offense. Emmett Carroll had 21 saves in cage.

Villanova moves to play Monmouth on the road next week while Penn welcomes in Princeton for a night contest to open Ivy League play.

Offensive Clinics in the ACC

The ACC saw four of its five teams earn wins this weekend and each of those four put up big numbers in their victories.

Duke got the party started on Friday night as they took down the Loyola Greyhounds 17-9 for their most dominant win of the season. The Blue Devils pulled ahead 8-2 at the end of the first quarter and never let up, extending that lead to 14-2 at the half before putting on the finishing touches in the final two quarters.

Andrew McAdorey (3G/6A) lead the way for Duke with nine points in the win while Owen Caputo (2G/2A) had four points. Garrett Leadmon (3G) and Brennan O’Neill (3G) each had hat tricks. Duke saw nine different goal-scorers and 10 point-getters in the win.

On Saturday, Notre Dame took it to Ohio State in a dominating 16-3 victory while North Carolina beat a depleted Brown team 19-6. Notre Dame saw 10 different goal-scorers in the win. Chris Kavanagh (3G/2A) and Eric Dobson (4G/1A) led the way with five points apiece. Pat Kavanagh also had four points off two goals and two assists. For the Tar Heels, Lance Tillman (3G/2A), Sean Goldsmith (2G/2A), and Logan McGovern (2G/2A) helped lead the way for an offense that saw nine different goal-scores and 16 players register a point.

Virginia had a tougher time than expected against Towson, facing a a goalie in Evan Long who made 19 saves with a 50% save percentage. However, the Cavaliers offense still prevailed in the 19-12 victory with Connor Shellenberger (4G/6A) tallying 10 points as the leader on the day. Xander Dickson (4G/2A), Thomas McConvey (3G/2A), and Jeff Conner (2G/2A) had six, five, and four points, respectively.

Three Winners and Three Losers

Winners: Penn State Nittany Lions

For each of the last three weeks the Penn State Nittany Lions have played an Ivy League team ranked in the top 10. And in each of those three weeks it has been Penn State who came out on top in an upset victory. The latest effort was perhaps their best as they clamped down against No. 3 Cornell in a 10-6 victory.

Between Jack Fracyon’s 16 saves and the play of both Jack Posey and Sam Sweeney, as well as Penn State’s overall ability to, in many respects, beat Cornell at their own game with its play in between the boxes, the Nittany Lions showed once again they have returned after two down seasons.

Winners: Duke Blue Devils

The Blue Devils have shown the lacrosse world that they deserve to be in that top-tier conversation along with Virginia and Notre Dame. A fifth-ranked Duke welcomed in a sixth-ranked Loyola on Friday night and took it to them in a dominating 17-9 victory.

After beating Syracuse in an overtime where they hit plenty of pipe last week, the Blue Devils’ offense clicked from start to finish on Friday night and showcased its talent from to bottom with Andrew McAdorey (3G/6A), Owen Caputo (2G/2A), Garrett Leadmon (3G) and Brennan O’Neill (3G) leading the way for an offense with nine different goal-scorers.

Winners: Villanova Wildcats

I had a hard time picking for this third slot this week but ultimately decided to go with Villanova. The Wildcats have now won four in a row and are a 5-1 after a tough opening month of the season. That includes exploding in the second half to beat Drexel, 14-7, on Tuesday and passing one of its biggest test with a 9-8 win over Penn on Saturday.

Matt Campbell (15G/8A), Austin Fraser (9G/11A), and Patrick Daly (18G/2A) makeup a extremely strong offensive core Reid Colwell (20GB/11CT) has emerged as a huge asset on a defense already featuring pols such as Brody LaPorte (4GB/5CT) and David Evanchick (12GB/6CT), and a SSDM the liked of Chet Comizio (28GB/6CT). Villanova proved again this week to be dangerous and deep at more than one spot.

Losers: Cornell Big Red

The Big Red are still likely one of the best all around teams in college lacrosse. However, Cornell was tripped up by a very good Penn State team on Saturday afternoon. The Big Red were able to get some momentum in the third quarter, but seeing this team needing unsettled situations or mismatches to get goals isn’t what we’ve come to expect from this squad.

With Yale up next with Ivy League play starting, Connor Buczek’s squad has an immediate big opportunity to bounce back.

Losers: Loyola Greyhounds

Loyola was one of the surprises of March. A win of Maryland to start the season followed by a win over Johns Hopkins showcased how good this defense could be. A win over rival Towson and a victory over Lafayette to open league play were good. Will they be the only team to get beat bad by Duke? Probably not. But much more was expected from this team on Friday night.

Losers: Ohio State Buckeyes

For the second week in a row, the Ohio State Buckeyes have disappointed against a fellow top-15 team. This week they were blown out by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a game where they committed 20 turnovers. And its talented defensive corp struggled against the talented Irish offense. The Buckeyes need a bounce back win badly.

Conference-By-Conference Notes

America East

  • UMBC beat Mercer 13-8 in a game where Brett Baucia led the way with five goals.
  • NJIT earned its second win of the year, beating Lindenwood 14-13 with a wild game-winner.
  • Binghamton won 14-9 over Fairfield in a game where Matthew Keegan had six goals and the duo of Matthew DeSouza and Ross Chaznow combined to go 20-for-27 at the dot.


  • Air Force earned a solid non-conference win over Bryant, 11-6.
  • Bellarmine held off a Marquette comeback to earn the 11-10 win and move to 5-1 on the season.
  • Cleveland State beat St. Bonaventure 13-6 in a game that saw Xander Johnson (4G) and Gannon Matthew (2G/3A) help lead the way.

Atlantic 10

  • High Point defeated Robert Morris 16-14, riding behind a nine-point (4G/6A) day from Jack Vanoverbeke.
  • Mike Tobin (2G/3A) helped UMass in a big 12-4 victory over Vermont.

Big East

  • Georgetown pulled away from Richmond in a slim, 13-10, victory. Tucker Dordevic (4G) led the way for the Hoyas.
  • Jack Horrigan put home the overtime, game-winner to lift Providence past Stony Brook 10-9.

Big Ten

  • Michigan earned a good win over Harvard 19-13 in a contest that saw Michael Boehm (5G/4A) led the way with nine points.
  • Maryland defeated UAlbany 16-9. Braden Erska and Daniel Maltz each had four goals in the win.


  • The Drexel Dragons earned an upset win over Saint Joseph’s, 18-16, on Saturday afternoon. Jack Mulcahy (5G/1A) led the way with six points for the Dragons while Ross Blumenthal made 16 saves in cage.
  • Delaware downed Monmouth 18-6 behind a six-point (3G/3A) game from JP Ward.

Ivy League

  • Yale held off Denver 11-9 in a game Brad Sharp (3G) and Matt Brandau (3G/2A) led the way.
  • Dartmouth beat Hobart 20-16 on Tuesday to move to 4-0 for the first time since the 2003.


  • Mark Regan (6G/2A) had a career day to help LIU past VMI 14-13 in its MAAC opener.
  • Siena opened MAAC play with an 11-8 win over Sacred Heart. Christian Watts had four goals and one assist for the Saints
  • Manhattan beat Mount St. Mary’s 9-3 in its MAAC opener.
  • Quinnipiac beat Canisius 13-12 to open MAAC play.
  • Marist topped Wagner 16-7 in its MAAC opener.

Patriot League

  • Army West Point beat Lafayette 17-9 on Friday night.
  • Boston U. topped Bucknell 14-12 in a game where Timmy Ley (5G/1A) led the way.
  • Colgate earned a big 17-8 win over Navy, riding behind a seven-goal day from Rory Connor.
  • Lehigh topped Holy Cross 18-11.

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